The Other Woman by Laura Wilson

Reviewed by Harriet A couple of years ago on Shiny I reviewed Laura Wilson’s The Wrong Girl. That was a tense psychological thriller centring on family relationships, and so, in a sense, is this one. It’s certainly a page-turner – I whizzed through it in record time – but it’s in a very different mode.…

Questions for Laura Wilson

Questions by Harriet   Harriet: Hi Laura – thanks for agreeing to answer some questions. I really loved The Other Woman and have some questions specifically about that. But first, our readers always enjoy hearing about how peoples’ writing lives began. When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer? Laura: I don’t…

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

Reviewed by Harriet I’ve always admired Maggie O’Farrell’s fiction, and greatly loved her most recent novel, This Must Be the Place, which I reviewed on Shiny last year. I didn’t know much about her personal life, though, so I seized on this recently published autobiographical work hoping to fill in the blanks. Well, let me…

A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carré

Reviewed by Basil Ransome Davies However deeply the irony may have entered his soul, John le Carré has no reputation as a jester. An element of satire typifies his work, always. But mainly he’s an angry, scornful author, whose anger is played back at him by those who feel he has let the side down…

The Woodcutter and His Family by Frank McGuinness

Reviewed by Rob Spence It’s startling to note that there’s more secondary writing about James Joyce than there is about Shakespeare. He must be the most investigated, elucidated, glossed and theorized author in the English language. His standing as a literary giant, and, I think, the fact that so much of his output was autobiographical,…

New People by Danzy Senna

Reviewed by Alice Farrant Maria and Khalil are the perfect couple, “King and Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom”. Maria is a successful scholar, writing her dissertation on the Jonestown Massacre, while Khalil benefits from the dot-com boom as his business takes off. They are even picked to star in a new documentary on people…

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

Reviewed by Gill Davies This is Attica Locke’s fourth novel and a stunning follow-up. Black Water Rising was set in 1981; Pleasantville in 1996 and both used the crime genre with deep political insight to explore crime and corruption in Houston. Bluebird, Bluebird is right up to date, infused with anger at the growing visibility…

Pan Books at 70: The SF Edit

Reviewed by Annabel Pan, founded in 1944, published its first mass market paperback in 1947 – Ten Stories by Rudyard Kipling with the famous Pan logo designed by Mervyn Peake and distinctive covers. Now they are 70 years old and Pan have published new editions of twenty of their most celebrated paperbacks with wonderful new…

Sugar Money by Jane Harris

Reviewed by Harriet Jane Harris is not exactly a prolific novelist. Five years passed between the publication of her debut novel The Observations (2006) and her second outing Gillespie and I (2011). Now her many fans will be breathing a sigh of relief that the waiting is over for her third, Sugar Money, just published.…

Questions for Jane Harris

Questions by Harriet Hi Jane – I really loved Sugar Money (as I did your other two novels). We’re very grateful to you for agreeing to answer some questions. First of all, the thing everyone always wants to hear – how did you become a writer? Hi Harriet. Thanks so much for asking me to…

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi pbk

Reviewed by Lucy Unwin There is no question, this book is stunning: in its scope, its ambition, in what it can teach us and in the skill on display. In Homegoing, a portrait of a West African family in 1754 feels as true to life as dialogue between kids at a California pool party today.…

Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa

Translated by Howard Curtis Reviewed by Basil Ransome-Davies I found a molten quality in this novel (if it is a novel). It burns off the page, as they say. It is very much a demonstration of the melting-down and intermingling of styles, genres, discourses, fact and fiction, dream and distanced analysis etc., that in South…

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Reviewed by Simon Thomas Many book lovers have fantasies about what it would be like to work in a bookshop – perhaps particularly a secondhand bookshop. There is an aura of nostalgia, romance, and indulgence put together by the picture. How could it be otherwise, surrounded by books all day long? Now, I happen not…